Fun games or pastimes for a family reunion?
July 7, 2009 6:08 AM   Subscribe

What game should I bring to my family reunion?

My family will be reuniting for a week at a Delaware beach later this month. As a kind of general gift, I'd like to bring a game or amusement that we can all enjoy. The main requirements are that many people can participate (there will be 12 of us) and that it appeal to as wide an age range as possible (my dad is 80, my youngest niece is 7). Beyond that, anything goes, indoors or out. Ideas?
posted by futility closet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (42 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
We played Kubb at my family reunion. An uncle of mine made the set himself for around $15.00 he said. At first I thought it sounded really boring, but once I started playing it was sooo much fun.
posted by ephemerista at 6:10 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh and sorry for the double post, but I just realized the wiki says Kubb is normally played with 2-4 players but we played with 4 people a team (using 8 total batons) and that worked really well. I imagine you could do match-ups however you wanted.
posted by ephemerista at 6:14 AM on July 7, 2009

Everyone who's played Catchphrase falls in love with the game.

It's super easy, super fun, everyone gets involved and no skill is needed!
posted by smitt at 6:15 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We love the board game Apples to Apples which turns into a laughing, screamfest every time we play. It will work for your age group, and lots can play at one time. Perfect for a rainy day or the evenings.

For outdoors, we love corn hole and bocci ball.
posted by maxg94 at 6:17 AM on July 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

You should bring Apples to Apples unless your family is a family that games often and is already tired of it. It's fun, simple and is good for all ages. People can take advantage of how well they know each other or they can get to know each other. It's generally amusing and games can go as long as people want them to.
posted by jessamyn at 6:18 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm having trouble thinking of 12-player games, but Pit goes up to 8, and is a lot of fun - the more players you have, the better it gets.

If you have games that don't take terribly long to play, groups could take turns. Or just have a couple of different games going; people can drift back and forth. Simple and relatively quick games coming to mind right now are Uno & Yahtzee.

Or with 12 people you could have a small tournament... Cribbage, maybe?
posted by usonian at 6:18 AM on July 7, 2009

Apples to Apples is a great game...7 might be a bit young for it, but perhaps she could form a team with one of her parents.
posted by brandman at 6:19 AM on July 7, 2009

Agrreeing with indoor - Apples to Apples, outdoor bocce ball.

Both engage a wide variey of ages and skill levels and are tons of fun.
posted by readery at 6:20 AM on July 7, 2009

Response by poster: These are great -- keep 'em coming! I'd also love suggestions for general family-delighting implementia -- toys or amusements even if they're not games.
posted by futility closet at 6:23 AM on July 7, 2009

Nthing Apples to Apples. I've played it with all kinds of people (even people who don't like board games) and everyone likes it. It's also good for kids because there is no wrong way to play it and the adults can help explain the words on the cards if needed. Say Anything is another good one, and in my opinion it gets people talking more and ends up being more interesting than Apples to Apples, but I guess that depends on the group that you're playing with.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:23 AM on July 7, 2009

Ladderball (aka hillbilly golf) is a lot of fun for outdoors. 4 people at a time (I suppose you could do more, too) but the games are pretty quick depending on how high you set the final score to, and you can have mini-tournaments, or just play winner stays or something...
posted by Grither at 6:24 AM on July 7, 2009

When my younger cousins were in grade school, my uncle collected a series of those mini-mysteries/guessing games/logic puzzles -- you know, where you explain an unusual situation and everyone else asks you yes or no questions to get other clues to figure it out -- and brought a couple of them out at one family event; I knew some and hauled 'em out as well. That had our whole family interested.

Have been looking for a site which has a few for you, but "mini mysteries" doesn't seem to be the standard term for it -- I know there was a thread somewhere on the blue or the green that had a few, anyone remember what I'm talking about?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:30 AM on July 7, 2009

3rding Apples to Apples.

But for a group as large as you're suggesting, Mafia might be perfect. It works best with at least twelve people, and all you need is a deck of cards to assign parts. It's kind of a proto-roleplaying game where everyone is a villager...except for a few randomly chosen people who are members of the Mafia. The Mafia are killing off the villagers one by one, and the villagers are trying to find and stop the Mafia. I've played it with groups ranging from fifth graders to retirees and it's always been a hit.
posted by Caravantea at 6:31 AM on July 7, 2009

LCR! It's a cheap set of dice, takes about 30 seconds to learn, kids can play along with adults, and later in the evening the adults can play for money.
posted by bink at 6:39 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nthing Apples to Apples- there is a junior version too, if you want to set up a game for the yonger kids.

I recently stayed at an old family cabin and found an ancient version of Balderdash- this led to ridiculous amounts of fun among the adults, although it may be a little beyond the grasp of younger kids.

Also seconding bocce, we do a tournament every 4th of July in my family, age 4-90, and everyone has fun!
posted by whodatninja at 7:04 AM on July 7, 2009

My family has always called it Bean Bags, but a lot of people seem to call the game Cornhole. Board building plans here.
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:08 AM on July 7, 2009

Apples to Apples, again. Can't miss on that one.
posted by Lucinda at 7:10 AM on July 7, 2009

Scattergories is good for a group with a wide age range. You're thinking up words that begin with a particular letter in various categories (e.g., girl's name, type of vegetable, something that's cold, etc.)
posted by corey flood at 7:11 AM on July 7, 2009

Nthing Apples to Apples - we played with a group of 7 ranging from ages 10 to 55. It was a hoot and it takes practically no time to go over the "rules" and get playing.

Also, Uno is always a family favorite... combine additional decks for more people.
posted by prettymightyflighty at 7:13 AM on July 7, 2009

I agree with the ladder golf suggestion above. Actually, I played a few games this weekend with 8 players and it made it even better.
posted by kingbenny at 7:21 AM on July 7, 2009

Trivial Pursuit (Family version) is fun because it has easier questions for those with limited capabilities and more difficult ones for others. Play it in teams; it can be a blast!
posted by dzaz at 7:24 AM on July 7, 2009

I hear "wits and wagers" is very fun if you like a trivia game. It also has betting and bluffing (no real money) and can be played be those who don't know any trivia but just can guess well (or knows who does know).

It suppots 7-8 individual players, but the rules state specifically that with more you should team up, so it can theoretically support any number that you can fit in one room.
posted by DetonatedManiac at 7:35 AM on July 7, 2009

For some "general family-delighting implementia", I suggest a couple pads of Mad Libs (the kids LOVE these) and a jigsaw puzzle or two. Not everyone will get into the puzzles, but those who do will enjoy putting them together as a team. Play-dough is fun for all ages. Definitely pack a few decks of cards!
posted by yawper at 7:40 AM on July 7, 2009

The two family favorites here are Apples to Apples and Scattegories.
posted by firei at 7:50 AM on July 7, 2009

Pétanque or bowls (I prefer pétanque) are tremendously fun to play outdoors on a warm beach. While the sets are meant for two players, if you have two sets you can set up a very relaxed tournament with plenty of opportunity to stroll up and down a beach disputing throws and breaking off for cool drinks and snacks. Good for all ages, especially popular amongst old French men.
posted by tavegyl at 7:56 AM on July 7, 2009

I love 6 Nimmt. You can get the American version, Slide 5, for a few bucks on eBay.
posted by reenum at 8:01 AM on July 7, 2009

Apple to Apples is barely even a game. No rules, no point — and markedly less entertaining than just talking to each other.

Taboo and Catchphrase, on the other hand, are a lot of fun and easy to learn.
posted by Bizurke at 8:11 AM on July 7, 2009

posted by toastedbeagle at 8:35 AM on July 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

We do an egg toss on the beach. Loved by kids and adults. We even do a trophy now and the kids LOVE that.
posted by k8t at 8:48 AM on July 7, 2009

Water balloon toss. Kids love getting adults wet. Build a huge balloon shooter for extra fun.
posted by misha at 9:02 AM on July 7, 2009

I have to toss in a suggestion for Pictionary. It was my family's traditional game to play after Thanksgiving dinner, before (and while) eating pie. We played enough that we had universal meanings for certain drawings, etc. One thing I will suggest is that you can play without making it competitive. My family stopped playing for a while because of huge arguments, bu then discovered that it's almost as much fun to play in a large group on a chalkboard or similar. You can help younger children play by letting them choose a simple object, or having a parent suggest something simple to them.

Also, Guesstures ('like Charades on crack' according to my roommate). Fast-paced and full of mayhem.

Oh oh oh! And for the kids (and kids at heart) Murder. Only, call it froggy like my summer camp did. One 'detective' in the center of a circle, a froggy, a couple of suicide flies, and the rest of people regular flies. Flies die when they see froggy stick out tongue, and detective tries to figure out who froggy is before all the flies die. Elaborate death scenes can be fun...
posted by dormouse at 9:06 AM on July 7, 2009

It's not a party without bocce.
posted by Loto at 9:33 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Encore is perfect for family reunions, as long as your family likes yelling and singing. Having a range of ages is a huge plus, and the times I've played with elderly family members they've really enjoyed pulling out old songs from the '30s and '40s.

Seconding Charades, Spoons, bocce, and Taboo.

Telephone Pictionary: goes by other names too and is a variation on Exquisite Corpse. A group of 7 or 9 or 13 or whatever sits around and each writes a short quote or song lyric or whatever at the top of their paper. Pass it to the left, and that person illustrates it. Then they pass it to their left, folding it over so the third person can only see the illustration. Then the third person writes a caption, sends it to the fourth for illustration, and so on. When it's gone around the table a full rotation, finish up on a writing and then pass once more for someone to read it. This game is pretty sedate until the very end, when (if you've done it right) it suddenly gets raucous and hilarious as you read the transformations aloud.
posted by hippugeek at 10:15 AM on July 7, 2009

For anything more than 8 people who all somewhat know each other, my favorite game has always been Are you a werewolf? You'll need a dozen index cards, a pencil, and your ability to incite mobs.

Another excellent choice if you have somewhat more index cards and a pile of pencils is 1000 Blank White Cards.

I'd recommend a few actual published games, but few of them feed more than 10. 6 Nimmt! (Category 5) would be my first choice, though for people getting sick of Apples to Apples, Wits & Wagers is an excellent alternative trivia game which requires no actual trivia knowledge to play.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 10:20 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think settlers of catan rocks ... but that is just me
posted by jannw at 10:59 AM on July 7, 2009

I must second (third, fourth, etc) Hillbilly Golf. PLUS you can make it yourself with readily available materials (think Home Depot, Lowe's, etc) and it disassembles into practically nothing. You can transport it in a small bag. It's loads of fun, and anyone can play. I'd def recommend a tournament of some sort for that many people.

And how often do you get to drill through golf balls? =)
posted by indiebass at 12:24 PM on July 7, 2009

Seconding Cornhole. Much fun for all ages.
posted by imjustsaying at 1:41 PM on July 7, 2009

Hillbilly Golf is a lot of easy fun. Settlers of Cattan has a bit of a learning curve but is simply awesome.
posted by jasondigitized at 7:00 PM on July 7, 2009

Jumbo Sequence (tube version) or Sequence Deluxe Edition (both feature a rolled playing mat and 150 reversible chips). You can also swap out the Sequence playing cards with two decks of jumbo index playing cards for the senior players.
posted by plokent at 6:19 AM on July 8, 2009

3rding spoons! Oh man, please play spoons. My dad is the king of spoons, and we used to play it gathered 'round the picnic table on our family Thanksgiving camping trips. One variation: we used the burned end of a wine cork to make some nice charcoal, and the loser of each round got their face marked with it. Then we played until everyone was too exhausted to continue, and the person with the dirtiest face lost. Oh man, good times washing soot off your face in a cold campground sink.
The wikipedia links above say you can have up to 8 players, but we always added as many as had interest. If you've got 12 people, maybe you could add another deck?
posted by purpletangerine at 8:11 AM on July 8, 2009

This isn't a game, but an activity that the entire family (5-66) all enjoyed at a recent beach vacation: tie-dying our own t-shirts.

While the results were imperfect, the process was great, messy fun. The anticipation of seeing the finished shirts was infectious, and everyone had a personal memento of a fun week.

Dharma Trading sells kits for groups of all sizes. The directions were rather vague, so if you are an in-experienced tie-dyer, you may want to google better instructions.
posted by soleilMia at 10:29 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just following through on this -- I brought the version of Apples to Apples that's designed for ages 7+. One sister's kids already owned it and liked it so much that they'd brought it themselves. I offered mine to the other sister, only to learn that my mother had bought it for her family the day before. So I can vouch that it's a wildly popular game, and a great choice for a group like this.
posted by futility closet at 12:37 PM on July 24, 2009

« Older Bike chewing through inner tubes   |   h8 renting. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.